911 Carney Blvd. Marinette, Wisconsin 54143
Remember when rated horsepower meant rated horsepower, and the word 'develops,' was used to talk about their growing adolescent children? These were the days of the transformation, from horse power to mechanical horsepower. When parts were sand-cast, and steel was heated red hot and beat with a hammer on an anvil to the shape and size needed; no Kmart at the mall to pickup their hardware supplies. The year is 1904, the place is Marinette, Wisconsin, and this is the story of the Silberzahn Gas Engine Company.
Mid-1904, Silberzahn Gas Engine Company is started. john Silberzahn leases the Marinette Iron Works manufacturing plant, with the option to buy. July 22, 1907, Marinette Iron Works Manufacturing Company absorbs the Silberzahn Gas Engine Company. The holders have transferred everything, including $70,000 worth of patterns. Marinette Iron Works Manufacturing Company begins manufacturing and selling. Silberzahn engines.
November 4, 1907, John Silberzahn, former owner of the Silberzahn Gas Engine Company, crosses the river between Wisconsin and Michigan and secures all the patterns needed for his new designs of engines and will soon have his new factory in operation. It will go under the name of Silberzahn Gas Engine Company of Menominee, Michigan.
February 12, 1908, John Silberzahn opens his new plant in Menominee, Michigan. He is manufacturing marine and stationary engines at the plant located on Cathrine Street. An article states that his new type of engine is a hit with the trade and he is receiving a large amount of orders. Records and city maps from the time show that the engine plant was only a blacksmith shop owned by Frantz Louis and Son.
In 1908, John A. Van Cleve was listed as president of the A.W. Stevens Company of Marinette, Wisconsin (successor to A.W. Stevens and Son, Auburn, New York). They were manufacturers of threshing machines, traction engines, portable saw mills and much more farm equipment.
Late 1908 records show A.W. Stevens Company with S. J. Diets as president. 1908 records also show Silberzahn gas engines being sold by Diets and Company. At the same time, records show John D. Silberzahn leaving the Marinette/Menominee area in 1908, selling his company holdings to S. J. Diets, who started Diets and Company. Sales for the new Diets and Company must have been poor. Only one advertisement can be found from Diets and Company in 1908.
After that the Silberzahn engine must have gone off into oblivion, like the hundreds of gas engines before it.
If you have an engine with the name Silberzahn or Diets and Company, please write me. I'm trying to find out how many are left and where they are.